Social marketing, sustainable tourism, and small/medium size tourism enterprises: challenges and opportunities for changing guest behaviour
Journal of Sustainable Tourism
Taylor & Francis (Routledge) / Multilingual Matters & Channel View Publications
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Reason for embargo
This paper investigates the impact on the guest experience of initiatives promoting water efficient behaviour in small/medium-sized enterprises (SMTEs) offering tourism accommodation. Interviews with 16 SMTE managers revealed businesses were unable to incorporate many initiatives previously examined in the literature, due to the small size of their businesses. In the interviews, however, they contributed three new ideas not previously examined in existing sustainable tourism dialogues. A subsequent questionnaire (n = 408) was administered to potential guests to better understand their water use behaviour, explore how initiatives might impact their accommodation experience, and to assess guest reactions to social marketing messages. Eight initiatives and five messages were tested. Cluster analysis revealed three distinct water user segments with one cluster showing the greatest promise for targeting to increase return on investment. Guests reported the highest positive impact on their experience from initiatives SMTEs stated were not operationally viable. This may indicate that larger firms have a competitive advantage over SMTEs if applying social marketing to change guest behaviour. However, the study found that two of the new initiatives, suggested by SMTE managers as more appropriate to their businesses, would be viable in engaging guests and at acceptably low costs.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.